Manila, Philippines, Apr 7, 2018 / 09:41 pm (CNA).- A relic of St. Pope John Paul II was recently gifted to the Archdiocese of Manila by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisw, the former secretary of the belated pope.
The relic – a vial of the saint’s still-liquefied blood – was given to the Filipino archdiocese to honor the 60th anniversary of the reconstruction of the Manila Cathedral after World War II. It was brought to Manila on Dec. 11, 2017 by a Filipino nun who lives in Poland.
“This precious gift… is truly a source of consolation and help especially for those who are suffering physical illness,” said a statement released by the Manila Cathedral, according to UCA News.
“Let those who have special intentions and petitions come in veneration and prayer,” the statement continued.
The relic of John Paul II is considered first-class, which means it contains the body or fragments of the body of a saint, such a piece of bone or flesh. Catholics have long venerated relics, dating back to the Apostolic age. While they do not worship the objects associated with saints, they honor them and pray for the saint’s intercession, believing that God can choose to bring healing through the holy objects.
The archdiocese was shocked by the unexpected gift. The cathedral’s rector, Fr. Reggie Malecdem, said he “did not expect Cardinal Dziwisz would send us still liquefied blood,” and noted that the church considered the gift “a great honor.”
“Let us come together as we welcome home the presence of our beloved Pope John Paul II and receive the graces and miracles through his powerful intercession,” Fr. Malecdem said.
The relic will officially be on display in Manila on April 7 and will be available for veneration.
Pope John Paul II visited the Philippines twice during his 27-year pontificate – once in 1981, where he celebrated Mass at the Manila Cathedral and later declared it a minor basilica, and again in 1995, to celebrate World Youth Day.
The Archdiocese of Manila will remain the custodian of the relic, which is one of seven vials of Pope St. John Paul II’s blood, which are located in various churches around the globe.
The blood was originally taken from the belated pope by doctors when he was undergoing medical tests just before his death in 2005, in case he needed an emergency transfusion. The blood remains liquefied because of an anti-coagulant substance in the vial.
John Paul II was canonized on April 27, 2014 by Pope Francis.